Rural Schools Task Force

Northwoods Republicans were pleased with the final numbers presented by the legislature's Joint Finance Committee as they ended the education funding portion of the next budget.

State Senator Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst said they restored more than $200 million dollars in previously-cut support, including and additional $100 dollars in the second year of the program. He says they added more than $8 million dollars to help fund the smallest enrollment schools, and  added more than $5 million to help fund busing in rural areas. Tiffany sits on the budget-writing committee.

Republican state Representative Rob Swearingen thought last week's forum on education had other motives...

" have a retiring Senator....along with a freshman Representative from the Wausau area. So coming up into the 12th Senate District or the 34th Assembly district appears to be a political stunt...."

Swearingen is talking about Republican State Senator Dale Schultz and Republican Mandy Wright from Wausau. Both legislators held a forum on rural school funding in Rhinelander.

Two state legislators are coming to Rhinelander Thursday evening to hold a public forum on school funding.

Republican State Senator Dale Schultz of Richland Center and Assembly Democrat Mandy Wright of Wausau will discuss how current and possible future funding changes affects rural schools.

Wright says a proposal to greatly expand the school voucher program could put more pressure on public schools...

Former teacher and Assembly Democrat Mandy Wright from Wausau says the legislature had a chance to move on some recommendations from the report but majority Republicans said no.

Wright was a member of the bipartisan Speakers Task Force on Rural Schools.

She says she agrees with most of report, a couple she disagrees with, but she says the report was written in good faith. But she says the report is not specific on how to make changes. She says educators were clear what their needs are....

Northland Pines School District

  Educators are optimistic some key points brought out during the recent Rural School Task Force will be part of the agenda in coming legislative sessions. Northland Pines District Administrator Mike Ritchie says while it's too late for a bill this session,  as Thursday is likely the final day for the Assembly this term, he says the discussion will set the stage for a focus on three key issues. He says one idea is similar to what happens for doctors who choose to work in rural areas...